Bicycling (and UK as a whole) missed a bullet there
Monday, July 11th 2016 at 3:47PM BST
Harold Wilson once said that a week is a long time in politics, but following the Brexit referendum developments have been coming along on an almost hourly news cycle. Today’s announcement from Andrea Leadsom is no exception, and it’ll date the mag article I wrote on how scary a Leadsom premiership would be. So, here it is
– and I’ve now got to write another column. This is not a huge problem, and quite welcome really …
Lurch to the right could be bad for cycling
David Cameron was a pedalling Prime Minister. Our next one could be an anti-cycling one, argues Carlton Reid.
My Twitter account is usually wall-to-wall cycling. During the referendum campaign it became less so, and I lost followers, one of whom said he was unfollowing me because he cycled to forget about politics. Of course, cycling will continue no matter what happens in the future but it’s inescapable that politics can and does impact on cycling, and on our industry.
The decision to fund British Cycling’s hyper-successful Olympics programme prior to the 2012 Games was a political one, and led to an upsurge in interest in cycling. The decision to spend £15 billion on facilities for motorists, and with just crumbs for people on bikes, was a political one, and will, in time, lead to more driving, more congestion, more bad health, and less cycling. Politics matters, even if you would prefer for the “Westminster bubble” to float off over the horizon.
Elsewhere in this issue I’ve talked about Brexit’s impact on cycling but in this column I’d like to expand on one outcome from the vote to Leave, and that’s the lurch to the right. Whether you’re a shire Tory or an urban Trot (or even a fence-sitting LibDem) it’s inescapable that what 150,000 Conservative party members decide in September could have a major and possibly detrimental impact on the cycle industry. It’s rather startling to think that the best case scenario would be a
Theresa May premiership – she is the continuity candidate, and hasn’t expressed any negative opinions about cycling. Andrea Leadsom is the wildcard candidate, with little experience of high office, but has a known distaste for cycling. In 2011 she launched a bill to create the offence of Dangerous Cycling. You know, for all those deaths caused by cyclists.
She also thinks the right-wing libertarian Institute of Economic Affairs is a “respected think-tank”. She’s chummy with the IEA’s Dr. Richard Wellings, who is proudly pro-motoring and very much anti-cycling.